In the excitement leading up to the Grand Tour, Partner and I raced off to buy new luggage. We didn’t really need new luggage, per se, already owning a hodgepodge of containers what would work just fine, given other circumstances. But this trip was going to be a mini world-tour (at least in our own minds), and we’re gay, so, naturally, critical accessorizing was key to the overall success of our adventure.
Searching high and low (okay, maybe we only went to two stores, but still), we managed to find a London Fog ensemble that we both deemed rather fetching, and we immediately arranged to become the proud owners of such. (We learned a long time ago that if we stumbled across something that we both liked, we must purchase it immediately lest we never run across said something again, as we are rarely in initial agreement about any significant expenditures.) I chose a sage hue for my pieces whilst Partner went with black, allowing for some degree of individuality but, essentially, we were twinsies.
On the long flight to from Dallas to London, our luggage proved quite satisfactory, smartly transporting our travelling trousseaus, at least from a functional aspect. But I must admit that, as we made the necessary navigations through the two airports, as well as the two-hour trip to the manor of our two friends in Hemington, I became slightly concerned with the appearance of one bag in particular. This was the smallest one, a somewhat-diminutive satchel that was perfect for small, two-or-three day excursions, and we had several such events on our planned itinerary.
The more I studied it, the more I realized that it was not the most masculine thing in the world. (I guess this characteristic had gone unnoticed by both of us during the euphoria of the buying frenzy.) In fact, it looked a bit like an oversized purse. But as long as the little thing was grouped with the more macho members of the luggage family, this discordance was not so prevalent. Still, I had a first tinge of misgiving.
This tinge would grow dramatically within hours.
The very next day, the four of us headed to the East Midlands Airport, brimming with the excitement of our first over-night jaunt, destined for Belfast. The taxi had been a bit late in fetching us from the manor, so we were slightly pinched for time, a situation further complicated by the alarming number of people at said airport. (From the outside, this regional center is deceptive, looking almost quaint and bucolic; inside, it was teeming with thousands of folks who also must have experienced a bit of tardiness with the fetching.)
It was now imperative that we scurry with alacrity or we would risk the non-consumption of tasty ales in Belfast, and that simply wouldn’t do. Off we raced, hither and yon, tending to the formalities as briskly as possible. To better visualize the scene, dear reader, you must keep in mind that Partner and I are trotting along with our little feminine day-trip clutches, as if we were emulating Pan Am stewardesses in 1967, but something has gone terribly wrong and we’ve lost our matching gloves somewhere.
Naturally, there was a hiccup going through Security, because there is always a hiccup when I go through Security. After being zapped with screening radiation, I am yanked to the side. This brusque gentleman is not impressed with my Pan Am pouch for some reason, and he insists that we have a bonding ritual as we review the contents. (Luckily, this doesn’t take very long, as it soon becomes clear that there’s not enough room from me to hide a thimble, never mind anything that might threaten an aircraft.) He dismissed me and sauntered off to select his next victim as I hastily shoved my meager essentials back into the pouch.
Once reassembled, I pulled on the zipper. It moved a mere two inches and then locked up, catching on something. I mashed the contents down a bit and tried again. Nada. I am now starting to panic. (Oh, who am I kidding? I started to panic at the mere thought of getting on an airplane. That’s why I take pills before doing so.) I glanced over at my travelling companions, all of whom waltzed through the security line with nary an issue and are impatiently waiting off to the side, glaring. Would you come on? Why does it always have to be about you?
I wretched on the zipper with desperation and an admitted amount of force that surely wouldn’t bode well, and it didn’t. The zipper emitted an agonized squeal of violation, accompanied by an equally troubling sound of unrequited rendering, but the damn thing closed. Well, sort of. The zipper was at the other end now, but there was a startling gap of zippered section that was not zippered, gaping. There was no time to care or investigate. I ran.
As I scampered after the others toward the gate, I could feel more and more pressure being released from my belching bag. Once we queued up to board the plane, I finally had a few moments to inspect the damage. Things didn’t seem too bad at that point, giving the false impression that I just needed to get the zipper back on its track. I should have let things alone right there, saving any further ministrations until later when I was less frustrated and less prone to doing something dumb-ass.
But nope, I went after that zipper with the frenzy of the damned, yanking and sweating and quietly cussing, my hand a blur as if I were trying to light a fire at Tribal Council or I would get voted off the island. End result? The zipper track ripped away from the purse proper. It no longer mattered if the zipper worked or not because it was no longer attached. I sighed and tried to concentrate on the lingering effects of my pre-flight medication, using my mortified hand to keep the satchel shut, as the various items inside were jostling about, seeking emancipation now that their sardine-can prison cell had been breeched.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m in my assigned seat in the tiny turboprop that is taking us on the half hour flight from Hemington to Belfast, still clutching the clutch lest a pair of my underwear catapults out of the thing with such intensity that it somehow causes the oxygen masks to drop down and the passengers are forced to evacuate.
Partner, sitting beside me: “Why are you doing that?”
I showed him my Grand Canyon, so to speak.
Partner: “How did you do that?”
“I hate flying.”
Partner nodded, no further discussion necessary.
I kept a firm grip on the canyon the entire flight. And I planned to start drinking the very second I stepped off the airplane until I didn’t care what my underwear did or where it ended up…